[31 Days] Day 29 Roots


It’s Day 29 of the 31 Days in the Life of a TCK series! Welcome! You can find more info on the series here. Don’t forget to subscribe!


Short and weak at first, looking for some ground to be planted in, to be nurtured in.
Growing strong and deep with time, digging themselves deep into the ground, spreading out, building a firm foundation underground for whatever is seen above the ground.

Roots being pulled and replanted into a different soil and the whole process begins anew. By the time these roots have found some ground and planted themselves again, they are uprooted again. 

The image of roots and the feeling of rootedness is powerful in a TCK life. 
It can be quite nice to have versatile roots – you don’t cling to unnecessary things or places, you can just move and experience new great things.

It can also be very hard, though. 
Not having firm roots often makes me feel like having no foundation. 
My roots have been planted in so many soils, but do they hold me? 
Whenever I am re-planted people just see what’s above the ground. But they don’t see where I’m coming from, they don’t know my life stories, my childhood dreams, my roots.  Do I belong even though I haven’t always been around?

We’ve talked quite a bit in this space about the feeling of restlessness and rootlessness so many TCKs experience. It’s not just a current research topic, it’s connected to so many personal stories of friends or my own. 
As some of you may have heard, I graduated from university last week. What this was and is like I will be writing about after the end of this series. But now it’s time to enter the next phase of life, which is not as easy at it seems.

After years of moving around, never staying in a place for more than five years I find in myself a desire to stay. 

To not pack my bags in a while but actually decorate my room. 
To set my roots down and see what happens. 
To invest in the people I am surrounded with and experience friendships that don’t depend on Skype and time zones.

I have talked to quite a few TCK friends lately and they said similar things. 
And together we wondered about ourselves and this feeling. 

Because we are not supposed to feel like it. 

A certain restlessness seems to be engraved in our genes and we are driven to move on. So what is this sudden change of heart? 
Are we just getting older? 
Or are we simply discovering a deeper desire to belong inside of us?

We have to understand that our past doesn’t have to dictate our future. 
Enjoying the present doesn’t mean we condemn the past. 
So if we discover this longing inside of us, if we decide to take this bold step and put our roots down for a while – it doesn’t mean that we cut off the parts of the root that have been grown in other wonderful places. 
These experiences shaped, strengthened and colored our roots – and it might be time to plant a bit of that in this one place for the moment. 
If we allow our roots to settle down for a while we will experience a bit of that rest we’ve been longing for all along. 
Firm roots will allow our flowers to bloom. 


Author: Katha von Dessien

Teacher. Believer in the Wilderness. Third Culture Kid. World Traveler. People and Food at the Table Lover. Writer.

6 thoughts on “[31 Days] Day 29 Roots”

  1. I guess we always want what we don't have…so it's nice to get a different perspective sometimes and appreciate what we have…thanks for coming by, Julie!

  2. Thanks for this great image! Really makes sense and is a good picture of how we should have our lives look like and influence those around us!

  3. All my life I've wanted MORE “wandering” – I feel like I could be a good “rootless” or “versatile” root person… I married someone who is like a sequoia – he's not moving! LOL. So… it's so interesting to hear your story and be thankful (a bit! LOL) for my “rootedness” 🙂

  4. Congratulations on completing your studies! As I read, I wondered if maybe thinking of yourself as one of those 'hen and chick' plants or a spider plant might not be a good idea. You know, those plants that produce little babies that can be plucked off and set in new soil and flourish there? They are some of the hardiest yet beautiful plants I've ever seen–and I've seen them in some strange places! Wherever you go, you leave a little 'chick' of you of influence that grows and continues to spread.

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